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Imagining historical Victoria

February 23rd, 2021

Vanessa Winn’s historical novel based on real people and events titled Trappings (Oakheart Press $24.95) will be included as a course text next month for a graduate seminar in Public History at the University of Victoria.

“I spoke to a Public History seminar several years ago about my first historical novel [The Chief Factor’s Daughter (TouchWood 2009)] and thoroughly enjoyed meeting engaged historians,” says Winn. “This time it will be a remote meeting, of course, yet still connected by books.”

Winn’s The Chief Factor’s Daughter (TouchWood, 2009) imagines the real-life Métis woman, Margaret Work who lived in Victoria in the mid-1800s just as the gold rush was getting underway. Following in a similar fashion, Winn’s second novel Trappings (Oakheart Press, 2020) carries on re-creating colonial Victoria life, this time through the younger Work sister, Kate. Trappings also takes place primarily in Victoria, but includes other locales as well and the time period is the aftermath of B.C.’s gold rushes.

Having been married at 18, Kate (Work) Wallace now struggles with a difficult family life. Her home, Point Ellice House (a present-day National Heritage Site) is put at risk by her husband’s business speculations and their lives become intertwined with the political power struggles between Victoria and New Westminster. Kate knows little of her husband’s family in Nova Scotia or the reasons they fled its ruling elite. Of more concern to Kate is that she must face the laws and ambitions of men to protect her only legacy — her daughter. 978-1-7770408-0-2

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